Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Count Down to Lift Off Begins....

Hey everyone,

The count down is officially started. Thank you so much for the watch and cookies!! We took all of our food out that night and put it on the floor and took pictures in our gluttony! It was amazing!

Mom, Thank you for the note of encouragement. I am so excited for you race! When is it? I hope everything goes well with you knee. I love that you have made enough food storage for the ward! It sounds like you are good for a while! I am excited to talk to you too! There have been so many times that I have thought while I have been here, man if I could just talked to my parents.

Dad, you reached your goal, you made me cry and laugh in the same letter. Sister Burke and I were looking out the fence on Saturday trying to see if we could see you walking to the game. I heard it was awful!

Brynn, I have been thinking about you a ton too! I wish I could have you as my companion some days because I know that we would have a blast out here! I wish you had been at the meeting we had last night, you would have died hearing about some of the bugs that missionaries get.

Chase and Ashley, Thank you for the note and for the article about the temple. You have no idea how excited that makes me! We heard about it yesterday but it is amazing to see the pictures! Congrats on your interview. I hope that everything goes well. Both of you--thank you for the letters this week; you have no idea how happy I get when I hear from you!

So this week has been filled with exciting things. On Thursday we received our flight plans and from the day on we have been a totally mess mentally. We made some goals on Sunday to try and put us back on track. We are all just so excited to go it is hard to stay focused. We are flying through New York and Vienna which will be a lot of fun. Our flight leaves Salt Lake around 8:30 and then we will have another 2 hour layover in New York. I will try and call in the morning but if not I will in New York for sure! I am so excited to talk to everyone!

On Sunday we heard a conversion story from a girl that was amazing. She was completely disowned and her family took everything from her when she was baptized. She was adopted by her chemistry teacher and she decided to serve a mission. Her mom came to her farewell and it was the first time that they had talked in 2 years. She found out that her mom was diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time in her life and it is not looking good. Her family has been asking her to come home but she was promised that her family would come unto Christ through her mission service and she doesn't want to give up that blessing. Every eye was wet in the meeting. She inspired us all and I am so grateful that that was not my trial. She was giving extra strength to be able to do that. I realized that I have had a very easy life. We were also released Sunday night and the new Coordinating sisters were called. It will be nice to be able to study on Sunday before we head out.

Tuesday we heard from Elder Holland. He came and gave the devotional. It was amazing! I love him so much. He talked a lot about being a missionary even after you return home and how Preach My Gospel was written to help convert the missionary first and then you will be able to convert others. We can't go and change the world when we don't believe in what we are teaching. I have seen that so much since I have been here. I can now say that I am truly converted. I know that God lives and I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that every word in the Book of Mormon is true. I don't just think that I know these things, they burn in my soul. My testimony has grown so much since the day that I walked in here. Today I was sitting in the temple and I saw a picture of Christ with His arms open to who ever would run to him. I started crying thinking about that day. We had an amazing day in the temple today.

On a less spiritual note... We had a terrifying meeting last night about everything that we need to do so that we stay healthy. I learned that lettuce is the worst thing that I can eat and meat is probably the safest... I am a little nervous. They also talked about how many rats will be over in Ukraine. I haven't thought about that yet. I knew the streets would most likely be covered in urine and dirt but I hadn't thought about the mice. Well we walked out of our classroom building to go to our rooms and one of the elders stopped and said look, I looked and there was a mouse running towards my feet. I may have screamed, and I realized that I am in trouble. This should be fun! Ha-ha.

About things to send. I will need my black winter coat for sure I forgot about that. The purple Jacket would be very nice. I am a little worried about my weight limit. I really am going to try to not go over. Sisters are wearing a lot more colors then I expected but I heard that clothes over there are pretty cheap so if I decide that I need anything else I could probably get it there. If you do decide to send some stuff, I could use more long sleeve or wool things; even just long sleeve t-shirts to wear under things. But I think that is it. I think I am pretty set. I will probably send a box home on Monday of stuff that I don't think that I will need. Oh man it is crazy to think that I will be living in Ukraine? For a year. Man I will miss you. I feel like I haven't really said goodbye yet because I still feel like I am in Provo. Well I love you all so much and I will talk to you soon:D. Thanks again for everything!

Cecmpa Larsen :D

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"I swear I was born here [MTC] and will die here!

Hey family!
I am glad that the OC Tanner job went amazing!

Brynn, your flowers are so beautiful! I have been showing everyone around me the pictures that dad sent. You are amazing! ........... [Editor's note: I am omitting some of the personal family stuff...just know that she thinks we are all amazing. Mostly she wants us to keep the letters coming so she says lots of nice things to us.]

Mom, thanks for doing everything for me!! You are amazing! When is the marathon? It should be coming up soon! ........

Dad, you are a machine!! ..........

Chase and Ashley, how is school and work going? I heard BYU won on Saturday. .............

So this week has been really really long. It has been one of my longest weeks. We just started doing 100% Russian yesterday and it is so hard and so frustrating. Every day I get so frustrated because I can't say what I want to say all the time. Sister Burke has been counting down the days which actually makes them seem longer. I want to leave but it is really scaring knowing that I will be in UKRAINE and I don't know the language.

We have also been having a hard time teaching this week in Russian. My confidence has been taken down to the floor which is actually kinda a good thing because now I will have to work hard these last 2 weeks to try and get it back before I get taken down again in Ukraine. haha but it is good here as always I am learning so much everyday, I just think we are ready to get out of here. I can't wait to get on that bus.

We have a few interesting things happen this week. The first I wanted to tell you about is Cectpa Loboda, I will send you a picture of her. Last week when we went to the temple she was so sweet. She got all ready in her white clothes and was looking in the mirror she then ran back into her change room and got a white ribbon out of her bag that she has had for a long time. She tied it around her head with a bow and she sat and smiled at herself in the mirror. She was so happy the whole day. You couldn't take the smile off of her face. It made me so excited to go and start this work.

I talked to a man named Derek this week on the phone. He had met the missionaries and was calling the number on the pass along card for a free movie. I got to testify to him of the love that our Heavenly Father has for him and that he was doing the right thing. I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and it was an amazing moment. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon and to find out for himself. I am so excited for him to meet with the missionaries and to discover for himself the great blessings that come with the gospel.

Well we are starting to count down. We get our flight plans this week and we will start packing next week. Sorry I keep asking for things but there are a few things I need before I take off. ...................

I love you all so much and I hope all is well. Last thing, I was wondering if you could either talk to some of my friends and send me a few dearelders or something. The mail during the week really helps the days go by. Thanks again for all of your support. You are amazing and I love you! [Editor's note: I think Brooke would love to hear from folks via letters during the week. She loves the emails on Tuesdays but would love something the rest of the week if anyone gets a chance to write her.]

Cecmpa Larsen

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hello dear family!

Sounds like it has been a happening place in the Larsen home the last few days! My family is so crafty I love it! And I am so proud of the big worker men for getting all of those crafts done! I got a great letter from grandma and will you tell her thanks. I am going to try and write her today and also tell carol gee thank your for the picture.

Brynn!! I can't believe that this job is next week! I am so excited for you and I am just imagining all of the amazing things that your are doing with glittering trees and walls of flowers! I want to see pictures! You better now forget to take pictures of these or else I will never let you forget it!

Mom, sounds like you have had fun cleaning out all of the old closets! I have no idea what this story is that everyone is talking about! I want to read it, maybe you could send me a copy! I am glad that no one has lost any fingers through all of the craziness! Oh and Sister Jones was our coordinating sister when we first got her! She is amazing I love her! I miss her a lot too! She is awesome!

Dad, sounds like you will be in and out of slc for a little. I am impressed with all of the amazing work that you do and that you still manage to help all of us out with all of our stuff!

Chase and Ashley, I think I need a letter for you two explaining all of the craziness that you have had with knifes and brownies?? Sounds like you have had the most eventful week! How have your first few days been with school? And I want to hear all about your interviews!!

So this week has been eventful for me as well! We got all of our new missionaries last week! And things are just starting to get interesting. I think everyone has started to get comfortable and things are starting to come out that haven't surfaced yet so I think this next week will be long. It has been really fun to get to know them! They all have such great stories and are such amazing sisters! They have changed the welcoming process a lot so we have spent a lot of our class time in training meetings for the orientation that is now on Thursday nights with the branch presidency. It went a lot better than my orientation because they weren't like deer in the headlights. They listened to a lot of what we were saying and they will all be great missionaries.

Elder Scott came and talked to us on Tuesday and he gave us two amazing blessings. He gave us the gift of tongues and also an apostalic gift of protection. All of my worries have completely left since that night. I will write you more about it!

We also had a surprise last friday night. Two of the native Russian speaking sisters came in to the MTC really early. They were suppose to go stay with friends but they got swept up with a group of missionaries and got checked in. They have been good sports because the MTC won't let them leave to go be with their friends. I feel bad, they were so excited to see Utah a little before they came in. One of the sisters speaks really good english and the other sister doesn't really speak any english. The one that speaks english has a rough relationship with her family and I think she is here against their judgment. She has great faith and she has a really strong testimony! She knows it is true more then anything! They were able to go and do baptisms today. They haven't been through the temple but they will go next week :D. I can't wait to go with them! We took them up to the temple on Sunday and they were taking pictures of everything. They took pictures of the don't walk on the grass signs, homes, random groups of missionaries, everything! They are just so excited to be here and to be so close to the church! Their enthusiasm is contagious! I am excited to meet the rest of the Cecmpbl tomorrow! They will be so great!


I think that is pretty much it! I love you all and I am so happy that I got to hear from you all! A few things... I checked on my flight status and it is tentitively (?) sept 29 at 8:35ish am... So if I have time I think I am going to try and call home. It will probably be around 7ish. :D When we checked our flight information we got really excited know that we are actually going to leave. I love it here but it would be nice to be outside a little.

........ One last thing... it might be a little much but I am dying for some homemade rolls?? They just aren't as good here. Thanks!

I love you all and hope you have a good week! I will send a letter and some pictures today hopefully!! Thanks for the support!

cecmpa Lapcoh